This old fur trading settlement is now one of
the most popular ski destinations in the West. Big
Mountain, the ski operation, features more than 3,000
acres of terrain in the Whitefish Range -- 23 miles
northeast of Kalispell and eight miles north of
Whitefish. The town is 20 miles from West Glacier, the
southwest gate to Glacier National Park. Whitefish is a
year-round vacation town, perfectly situated for
day-trips or for relaxing in a resort ambience.
North of Whitefish, along Highway 93, you'll
experience some of the most majestic scenery in the
state, plus thrilling summer and winter recreation, in an
area just west of the Glacier Park boundary.
What to See & Do
The Great Northern Railroad arrived in Whitefish in
1893. Before then, the area was home to only a few
trappers and homesteaders. This is still a small, quaint
town of about 4300 people which is a fine complement to
the resort operations three miles away. The Stump Town
Historical Society operates a mini-museum featuring
early history of the area, with logging and railway
The town has several antique and collectables
galleries on picturesque Central Avenue, the town's main
street. Saloons and restaurants in historic buildings
provide relaxed dining and evening social activity. Whitefish Lake State Park is located just north of
town west of Highway 93 on a county road, providing
camping and a picnic area, as well as swimming. The park
is near the Whitefish Lake Golf Course. There is
another beach with a picnic area at City Park on
On the way to Glacier National Park (off
Highway 2), the Hungry Horse Dam offers guided
tours. The reservoir here is a long, slender lake with
hiking and trails in the national forest. The renowned
ski hill offers summer thrills, as well, with the gondola
(the Glacier Chaser) and high-speed quad chairs taking
visitors to Big Mountain Summit, offering walks
through alpine meadows and fine views of the surrounding
peaks and the Flathead Valley. For information and
reservations, go here.
One of real joys of the Whitefish experience is
walking the Danny On Trail, a Forest Service trail
which begins at the Big Mountain ski base. This is
a self guided trail with a hike of about six miles
leading across the mountain and up to Summit House -- at
the ski peak -- where the USFS operates an interpretation
center. The easy way to do this trail is to take the
gondola to the top and walk down, a descent of about
three miles. The trail becomes clear of snow about the
first of July and the lift operates from mid-May through
The fall season is an excellent time to walk the full
trail, to the top and back again, with fall colors
blazing on the mountain. A high trail provides an
additional loop hike of 3.8 miles, through Flower Point,
on an amazingly colorful alpine meadow.
Whitefish Hotels &
Big Mountain road is the road to travel to find a
variety of lodgings at the foot of the Whitefish Mountain Resort ski hills. Here you'll find deluxe lodges,
condominium accommodations, and a bed and breakfast inn.
Edelweiss Condominiums are at 3898 Big Mountain
Road (406-862-3687) and Morning Eagle Luxury Condos at 3893 Big
Mountain Road (406-862-3687).
Kandahar - The Lodge at Big Mountain is one of
the lodges at the ski resort (408-862-6098). Another is Kintla
Ski-In/And Ski-Out Lodge, at 3889 Big Mountain
Motels in the town are largely of the chain variety.
Diamond K RV Park
5121 U.S. Highway 93 South, Whtefish, (406) 862-4242
A large, full-service campground on U.S. 93, with tent
and RV sites that features chuckwagon suppers and a
western show. Open April 15 to November 15.
Columbia Falls RV Park
103 U.S. Hwy 2 East, ColumbiaFalls, 406-892-1122
Columbia Falls is a short drive from Whitefish, on the road to Glacier National Park. This RV park has full hookups for motor homes and trailers, no tenting. Amenities include how showers and restrooms, propane available, laundry room, walking trails, and free WiFi.
Whitefish Lake State Park Campground
1615 West Lakeshore, Whitefish, 406-862-3991
The campground on the lake, close to the town, offers boating, swimming and fishing along with 25 RV and tent campsites. Reserve at reserveamerica.com.